6 February – 12 June 2016
Free to all
The painter, sculptor and designer's dystopian reimaginings of iconic animated characters go on display across the indoor and outside spaces of the park.
Cartoon characters, but as not as you know them. This is the signature of Brooklyn-based artist KAWS, who counts Kanye West among his slew of famous collaborators.
The genesis of his work began in the 1990s with graffiti, when he would tag walls and freight trains with the letters KAWS and a cartoon-like soft skull crossbone with crossed out eyes. After graduating from college he worked as a freelancer for a range of animation studios, further fuelling his interest in comic book characters.
At this, the first UK exhibition of his work, examples of his painting, sculpture, printmaking and design reappropriate many icons of the cartoon world. In the parkland, a series of almost-recognisable characters are depicted in the process of growing up.
Far from the jolly smiley-faced figures we remember, they appear with head in hands, or slumped shouldered, world-weary and disheartened. The effect is a strange mix of nostalgia, compassion, surprise and despair.
Meanwhile in the Longside Gallery a disturbingly monstrous baby-pink rabbit is joined by a Mickey Mouse-like figure that has had its skin pulled back to reveal its internal organs.
A series of brightly-coloured acrylic canvases reimagine popular cartoons, including cult favourite SpongeBob SquarePants.